Anglers fishing with me on my Action Craft flats skiff the Snook Fin-Addict, out of CB’s Saltwater Outfitters on Siesta Key, had very good action, jumping and catching and releasing tarpon on spinning tackle in the coastal gulf in Sarasota at the end of the week.
Photo: Snookfinaddict – snookfin-addict.com
I was over at River Palms Cottages & Fish Camp, in Jensen Beach, on the east coast of Florida, for a few days early in the week for the annual DOA Guide & Outdoor Writer Festival. DOA guides from Florida and other areas of the southeast were matched up with outdoor writers, magazine editors, TV show hosts and sponsors to fish for a couple of days.
Outdoor writer Pete Barrett, from Jupiter, FL and Michael “Mookie” Wilson, outdoor writer for the Lakeland Ledger, fished the Indian River near Ft. Pierce with me on Monday and Florida Outdoor Writers Association (FOWA) executive director, Capt. Tommy Thompson, fished the Indian River near Jensen Beach with me another day. The action wasn’t fast but we caught and released trout to 4-pounds, bluefish and snapper on DOA Shrimp, CAL jigs with shad tails and jerk worms. The best action was working bait schools around spoil bars and docks.
A special thanks to Mark Nichols, Capt. Ed Zyak, Chris and everyone at DOA Fishing Lures that helped make this happen. Also, thanks to Rufus Wakeman for hosting us at River Palms Cottages and Fish Camp and the other sponsors of the event, Costa Del Mar sunglasses, Tailing Toads, Eagle Claw, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Shimano, Power Pro, Custom Gheenoe Boats and Hoo Rag (apologies to anyone left out but I probably forgot someone).
A huge rain storm before dawn on Thursday morning left the coastal gulf too rough to fish, but Cliff Ondercin, from Sarasota and his dad Dennis Ondercin, from OH, made up for it on Friday. With overcast conditions and a big swell to start, we weren’t seeing many fish at all, just an occasional single here or there. However, tarpon were there in numbers and we had great action jumping 6 tarpon, landing 2 and getting a few other bites by drifting live crabs or baitfish behind the boat. Dennis’s first fish of the day taped out at a 34” girth X 68” length for an estimated weight of 115-lbs. A great day!
Tarpon fishing in the coastal gulf should be strong as we approach a new moon on Tuesday. Catch and release sight fishing for snook in the surf with flies or DOA Lures should also be a good option. You may find trout, Spanish mackerel, blues or pompano on deep grass flats, particularly close to passes. Look for reds, snook and big trout mixed with mullet schools on shallow flats and edges of bars.
Capt. Rick Grassett
IFFF Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Orvis- Endorsed Outfitter Guide
CB’s Saltwater Outfitters-2011 Orvis Outfitter of the Year
Snook Fin-Addict Guide Service, Inc.